Think back to the release of the original iPhone. The iPhone flipped conventional wisdom on its head and introduced finger-touch as a complete i/o solution. There was no keyboard and no stylus. Then winter came along and individuals realized that capacitive touch screens don’t work when wearing gloves. At best, this was an annoying inconvenience. Overall, it was mostly just surprise. As the years went on, many glove makers created options that supported touch screen technology. The issue of gloves and touch screens mostly settled quietly on the back-burner.
Enter iPhone 7 and it’s capacitive home button. Within days of shipping, users are already noticing a potential ‘flaw’ with the all digital button: it doesn’t work without skin contact. See:
So here's a thing.
Cover your iPhone 7 home button with material (like from a t-shirt) and try to click it.
— Myke Hurley (@imyke) September 16, 2016
Latex gloves don't work with the iPhone 7 home button. Neither do some capacitive gloves. https://t.co/mNlzGZkQZz
— Juli Clover (@julipuli) September 17, 2016
Does this even matter? iOS 10 added the raise to wake feature. This software feature, only available on devices with the M9 motion co-processor or higher, turns on your device’s screen when the device is raised. This feature will allow users who are wearing gloves to wake up their iPhone without using the home button. User’s can also click the power button on their device to activate the screen. Here are two alternatives that wake up one’s iPhone.
Also, remember that the iPhone 7’s screen is still capacitive and will still require a special set of gloves to operate. Overall, even if some people complain about the new home button, the actual impact on usability resulting from this ‘flaw’ is very minimal.